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R-Phils fans take swing at team's name change; front office not surprised

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 07 2012 11:59:00 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 06 2012 05:13:29 AM CST

Talk of change is common in an election year, but when it comes to the name of Reading's minor league baseball team, change might as well be a dirty word.

READING, Pa. -

The longest affiliation in minor league baseball will hang up its jerseys after 46 years.

The Reading Phillies, a staple in Berks County, have decided to change their name, and the decision has set off a fan frenzy on Facebook and other social media sites.

The team has always been based in Reading, and it has always been known as the Reading Phillies, but come Nov. 17, the team's streak will strike out.

"We've always analyzed the name Phillies. Is it the exact right name for us?" said Scott Hunsicker, the team's general manager.

The R-Phils announced Sunday they're changing names. Hunsicker said it's part of their re-branding process. They will change their name, their logo and their jerseys.

"We're giving our fans, our sponsors and the people that care about us since 1967, a chance to take their own flag with their own name on it, stick it in their front yard and be proud of it," said Hunsicker.

The fans have not taken the news lightly. They have created a firestorm and demanded the team maintain its long-standing tradition.

"When you talk about Reading, you think about the Reading Phillies," said Travis Peck, an R-Phils fan.

"Why change? You know the old saying, "If it isn't broke don't fix it," said Michael Ronco, who is a big sports fan.

"I can't say I agree with it, I think they need to remain the Reading Phillies," said Rick Backus, who does not want the name changed.

Fans have taken their frustration online. A petition called, "Reading Phillies: Do NOT change your club name was created on change.org.

Groups have also been created on Facebook. On Monday afternoon, "Save the Reading Phillies" already had nearly 2,000 members.

Frank posted, "Change the name, I change my allegiance." Kristy said, "This can't happen!!!!" Rick wrote, "All about money..."

"I don't think we would have done this if we didn't think on Nov. 17 people aren't going to say, "Ahh, I really like that," said Hunsicker.

Team leaders have been tight-lipped about the new name. They hinted the idea came from someone in the front office.

The name change announcement will be held in VIST Bank Plaza at FirstEnergy Stadium. The event is only open to those who subscribe to the Baseballtown Insider, the team's new newsletter.

What's your take on the R-Phils' name change? If they can't be the Phillies, what do you think they should be called? Leave a message for 69 News at 610-871-0074 or email yourtake@wfmz.com.